A recap of two key thoughts in earlier posts about changing money habits:
1. Your brain has two systems operating together at all times: your rational brain and your instinctual brain. Don’t pit them against one another – your rational brain will nearly always lose. Or, in real life, you will buy the coveted item you can’t afford against your better judgement. Or you will avoid facing facts. Instead, learn to work with both parts to achieve long term change.
2. Playing to your strengths is likelier to lead to success than trying to fix your weaknesses. Think about it a moment. When you are doing something well, you feel good, right? And you usually want to do more of it? Whereas if something is difficult, and you often fail, you prefer to avoid it, right? So. Let’s put your strengths to work, shall we?
The first step is to identify your strengths. Here is an exercise to help you to just that.
Choose 8-12 people who know you reasonably well from your various walks of life. Coworkers. Friends. Teammates. Family. Professional connections. Customers.
Send them an e-mail or a letter asking them to provide anonymous (-ish) feedback about your strengths to you. I did this once for a professional development assignment at work, so trust me, it’s do-able!
Here’s some sample text.
As someone who knows me through **XYZ** I would really appreciate your feedback on a personal undertaking of mine. I want to ensure I am making the most of my strengths during 2011. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on what you see as my strengths. I am asking several people for feedback. Your support by way of feedback would be invaluable to me.
If you are willing, would you please list for me 3 key strengths you see in me? If you are comfortable, providing an example of that strength in action will help provide clarity.
Then, you can provide them a link to a survey on survey monkey, or ask them to e-mail you directly, or to send you a letter back in a self-addressed envelope. Your Call.
Once you receive all the feedback, create a composite of your strengths. This is what you have to work with!
On Wednesday, it will be time to discover how to bring those strengths into play re: managing your money effectively.
For those of you who are daunted by this exercise: You may miss out on some hidden capabilities, but a simpler, more private exercise is simply to reflect on the matter over several days. What have employers said about you? Friends? What are some activities you excel at?